The Immigration Department of Malaysia on Monday evening busted a Kuala Lumpur-based syndicate which specialized in producing forged immigration documents for foreign workers.

A total of eight Indonesian men and one Malaysian man were arrested and officials seizure more than 1,700 passports.

At 7:30 pm on October 29, officers raided a location at Jalan Masjid India, where the alleged forgery syndicate operated for the past eight years, the Sin Chew Daily (Malaysia) reported.

The 1,731 passports were from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Vietnam, Pakistan and Myanmar and 97,086 ringgit in cash and eight computers were recovered at the scene.

A preliminary investigation showed that the syndicate, which had been serving at least 40 companies, guaranteed success by hacking and inputting the workers’ information into the immigration department’s MYIMMS online system, and it would then generate the Visit Pass – Temporary Work (PLKS) sticker through MYEG – Malaysia’s E-Government Services provider.

The syndicate allegedly charged 7,000 ringgit for cases when foreign workers who had not entered Malaysia needed the Visa With Reference (VDR) letter to be entered into the system, while those already in the country would pay only 1,500 ringgit.

The nine arrested, aged between 23 and 73, were detained under Section 12 (1) (f) of the Passport Act 1966.